The Arizona state Senate just passed a bill that would allow the state legislature to subpoena critical elections records, paving the way for a closer look into some of the most contested data amid the messy fallout of the 2020 election.
Senate Bill 1408 passed 16-14 cleanly along party lines with Republicans forming the affirming vote, according to the Arizona Mirror.
If the bill is ultimately signed into law, it would force officials in Maricopa County to hand over documents and information they have been so far refusing to provide to the state legislature in an ongoing legal battle, including those pesky voting machines themselves.
In December, the GOP-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee issued subpoenas to the county to turn over all voting machines and ballots, but the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, also controlled by Republicans, refused to comply.
Instead, they filed a court complaint, claiming the committee had no such right to issue subpoenas and that turning over voting information would violate state laws, requesting that a judge make the determination as to whether they were required to comply.
While Maricopa County officials have turned over some data to the Senate panel, it has not been to the satisfaction of the legislators, who had requested images of ballots and detailed information on the now-infamous voting machines, among other things as yet to be turned over.
Next week, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Timothy Thomason will hear arguments to make his decision on whether the Judiciary Committee has the authority to make these demands of the county, the Arizona Mirror reported.
Meanwhile, SB 1408, which was introduced by Republican state Sen. Warren Petersen, would expressly allow the legislature to request all ballots, equipment, systems and other information from counties, regardless of any laws that might otherwise prohibit them from doing so.
The law, if it makes it past the state House and is signed by Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, would apply retroactively — thus empowering the legislature to seize the 2020 election data they are, to their credit, so doggedly after.
Arizona’s Democrats are falling back on the favorite party line: The notion that any aspect of the election could be fraudulent is all part of the “Big Lie” and any attempt to scrutinize it is simply the perpetuation of “misinformation.”
“The more we continue down this path, we continue to spread the ‘Big Lie’ that something was wrong with our elections. The more we continue to go after the county board of supervisors and try to subpoena all this information … we are furthering and perpetuating this lie,” Democratic state Sen. Martin Quezada said, according to the Mirror.
“This is not about a state body battling with a county body because they are not complying with a subpoena. That is not what this is about at all. This is about perpetuating more misinformation,” he added. “It’s irresponsible and it’s damaging to our democracy.”
It is important to note that, even in the hypothetical eventuality that Maricopa County indeed was impacted by the suspected irregularities and fraud (and this was uncovered), that alone would not impact the outcome of the 2020 election other than to flip Arizona’s 11 Trump-camp-contested electors away from now-President Joe Biden.
Nonetheless, as Republican state Sen. J.D. Mesnard said contrary to the views of his Democratic colleague, the law is explicitly meant to underscore the legislature’s subpoena powers more than anything else.
This is something that, were we truly interested in preserving our democracy, you’d think would hold bipartisan appeal.
“This is a much broader statement about the legislature and our subpoena powers, because as of late, it seems those powers are not respected,” Mesnard said. “Our subpoenas are supposed to matter. This is making that very clear.”
“Even if you set aside this election, if something nefarious happens in the future, regardless of whether you believe it happened now, and suddenly you wanted to investigate it, you would find yourself in the very same situation.”
No, this law may not change the election outcome nor even, perhaps, prove anything damning about 2020, but it is still a no-brainer.
If an election is secure, every county should be able to show their work — now more than ever when complex algorithms and technicalities abound (to say nothing of the U.S. Congressional Democrats’ efforts to codify the tactics that paved their pathway to victory in 2020 for all future national elections).
We the people need to have trust in our voting system as it is the bedrock of our constitutional republic. Without it, the people cannot exercise their rightful sovereignty.
Every state that faced questions surrounding questionable voting data would do right to examine a similar approach to ensuring the people were well-represented in 2020, and, even more importantly, that upcoming elections can be conducted with a much greater degree of confidence.
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